|Publication number||US7222354 B1|
|Application number||US 09/412,969|
|Publication date||May 22, 2007|
|Filing date||Oct 5, 1999|
|Priority date||Oct 5, 1999|
|Publication number||09412969, 412969, US 7222354 B1, US 7222354B1, US-B1-7222354, US7222354 B1, US7222354B1|
|Inventors||Jennie Ching, Eric Hsiao, Peter S. Lee, Edith H. Stern, Barry E. Willner|
|Original Assignee||International Business Machines, Corporation|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (24), Non-Patent Citations (1), Referenced by (43), Classifications (65), Legal Events (4)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
1. Field of the Invention
The invention relates to the field of transmission of video programs and more specifically to a system for presenting multimedia programs that is customized to a specific audience, which may be as granular as an audience of one.
2. Description of the Related Art
Providers of broadcast, satellite and cable television offer a variety of programming channels. In fact, it is common for many viewers to be able to choose from over one hundred channels, which are a combination of channels provided by national networks, by local cable providers and a variety of cable programmers. Many of the new television sets come with the capacity to receive more than a hundred channels. Local providers of cable television are usually granted exclusive rights to provide cable programming to a specific community, town, or defined locale. These providers are able to customize channel offerings based on the geographic location of the subscribers. For example, a program offering advice on “ice fishing” would most likely enjoy a higher viewer audience in northern Minnesota rather than Southern Florida. And while providers of television programs continue to offer more content, this increase in content is not without its shortcomings.
One shortcoming is that the television programs are not customized to individual viewer's demographics and taste. Stated differently, the program content is not as focused as the providers of these programs desire. The amount of selection a provider of a program can control is usually based on geography alone. Accordingly, a need exists for a method and apparatus to enable the providers of television programming content to customize their offering based on criteria other than geography.
Another shortcoming with current television programs is that the program content and advertisement content cannot each be separately customized. All viewers within the same geography receive the same advertising and programming content. Accordingly, a need exists for a method and apparatus to enable the providers of television programming the ability to customize both their program content and their advertisement content separately based on criteria other than geography.
Another shortcoming of conventional television is the inability of the providers of television programming to combine multiple sources of program and advertisement distribution in a customized fashion. One solution known allows user driven interaction with the Internet and the television to combine multiple sources. One solution such as Microsoft's WebTV or Intel's Intercast allows a user to view both television broadcast programs and surf the Internet on a television. This solution allows the viewing of several sources of information, but does not combine the sources of information. In fact if the user desires to combine multiple sources of information, the user must program a VCR or other device to record information from a variety of sources such as broadcast and the Internet. For many people the experience of having the program information delivered passively rather than programming devices to receive and combine information from a variety of sources is important. There is a need to retain the passive viewing experience for a user, while allowing the providers of television programming to combine multiple sources of program and advertisement distribution (for example, broadcast, Internet, CDS, DVDs and other computer readable material) in a customized fashion.
Moreover, all forms of broadcast and cable television program distribution are limited by available bandwidth. There is currently no mechanism to combine program material and advertisement from several different sources, or to store information as directed by the program provider on a viewer system prior to being displayed. Accordingly, a need exists for a method and apparatus to overcome this problem.
Still, another shortcoming with current cable distribution system is the inability to tailor program content based on the viewer. For example, a program involving scenes for mature audiences, such as the known movie ratings of R or NC-17 is not appropriate for small children, although the story line may be appropriate. One example is the popular movie entitled “Titanic.” The violence, mature subject matter and adult scenes are not appropriate for children. Providers of programming materials have no mechanism by which to tailor their information to specific viewers such as children, adults or other criterion. Accordingly, a need exists for a method and apparatus to provide customized programming to viewers.
Briefly, in accordance with the present invention, a method for displaying on a viewer information processing system with an interface to a device for rendering audio video display, a set of multimedia segments to form a multimedia presentation. The method comprising the steps of: receiving a play-list, wherein the play-list is a list of instructions for rendering each of the multimedia segments, and the sequence of the multimedia segments in the play-list is directed by the provider of the presentation; receiving multimedia segments; and rendering the multimedia segments received based on the play-list.
In accordance with another embodiment of the present invention, an information processing system and computer readable storage medium is disclosed for carrying out the above method.
The subject matter which is regarded as the invention is particularly pointed out and distinctly claimed in the claims at the conclusion of the specification. The foregoing and other objects, features, and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
However, it should be understood that these embodiments are only examples of the many advantageous uses of the innovative teachings herein. In general, statements made in the specification of the present application do not necessarily limit any of the various claimed inventions. Moreover, some statements may apply to some inventive features but not to others. In general, unless otherwise indicated, singular elements may be in the plural and visa versa with no loss of generality.
The following definitions are utilized in this document:
Referring now in more detail to the drawings in which like numerals refer to like parts throughout several views, as described in
The output from the cable plant 1 is typically transmitted through a hybrid fiber coaxial network 10 which is organized in a tree and branch structure, passing homes in the community. The icons representing homes 4, 5, 6, 7, and 9 represent cable customers, shown by connection to the cable plant 11. The home 8 is not a cable subscriber and hence is not connected to the network 10. According to one aspect of the invention, the cable company at the head-end 1 can transmit program content (e.g., television programs) and play-lists to coordinate the display of the multimedia segments received at viewers' units (e.g., a set-top box coupled to a television receiver or an information processing apparatus with a display). A programming distributor will generally obtain information from, or about, its customers that is of great use to program providers and advertisers. In today's broadcast television environment there is no possibility for directing signals at an individual viewer's unit. In the system of
The cable head-end 1, a provider, can now be a provider of the “doctor show channel”, created for medical enthusiasts. The cable head-end 1 would create a play-list that stitched together any broadcast shows with medical content, potentially select a choice based on user demographics or preference if two shows are available at the same time, and transmit content owned by the cable head-end 1 to the set-top over the internet for play when no broadcast satisfies the conditions.
In another example, the provider can provide programs customized for many different audiences with only an incremental use of bandwidths (e.g. frequency spectrum, or megabits per second) over broadcasting a single program in common for everyone. Consider the case where the program material is customized for the following audiences—young women, middle aged women, and older women. Ninety five percent of the program content (multimedia segments) is common for these three audiences, representing material of general interest to women, and women's issues. Program material (multimedia segments) that is specific to the different groups, for example, information on cosmetics for teenagers, child-rearing, or retirement planning, composes the other 5% of the content, and represents the customization geared to these audiences. The provider, by sending the appropriate play-lists (and potentially multimedia segments) to members of these groups, can effectively provide three different channels using only 10% more bandwidth than a single channel.
In another example, a play-list may cause a tailored message to a specific viewer. A child may be watching an episode of a children's program, such as Barney or Sesame Street and the play-list indicate a multimedia segment containing audio of the child's name to be rendered along with the multimedia segment containing the audio track.
Delivering the Multimedia Segments and Play-Lists
There are several ways in which the cable head-end 1 can ensure the multimedia segments are available at the homes. The multimedia segments and play-lists can be downloaded to a set-top box with storage capabilities through the cable; they can be distributed via a form of removable media, such as CDS, DVDs, or tape; they can be broadcast over the air to an apparatus with storage capabilities and they can be sent over the Internet, or over another telecommunication means, wired or wireless.
The providers of content can sell content based on any useful marketing criteria such as geography, gender, age, zip code, political affiliations, number of children, marital status and other demographic information including interests.
Embodiment of Providing Customized Advertisement
Embodiment of a Playlist
Turning now to
In order to synchronize the rendering of the multimedia segments specified by play-list 300, and the actual delivery of multimedia segments to a household, time must be synchronized between the user Devices and the provider. This may be done by time synchronization codes (not shown) or by other means such as household access to a GPS clock. Synchronization codes can be sent to the household by satellite, broadcast or the Cable TB infrastructure.
Embodiment of Selling Advertisement
An Embodiment for Customized Programs
Insertion of Multimedia Segments from Playlist on Viewer Unit
In another embodiment, the steps 614 and 616 of storing the information are eliminated, and all of the information is available in realtime through a computer readable medium or through broadcast or other telecommunication. It is important to note that the play-list 300 can combine multimedia segments from a variety of sources.
The combined set-top box 43, may also be optionally required to check that materials represented on the play-list 300 are available at some customizable point before the time required by the play-list 300. That is, if material M, to be available locally from the combined set-top box 43, is scheduled on the play-list 300 for 2 PM, the set-top box 43 may be required to verify at 1 PM that the Material M has been received and is available. Failing such a check may require the set-top box 43 to alert another device or entity, or to take remedial action. These sources include broadcast television, the Internet, CDS, DVDs and any other telecommunications and cable distribution and computer readable mediums.
Play-lists 300 may be supplied for each viewer selectable channel on the viewing device. For example, given a television with a 100 viewer selectable channels, the associated customization device can have a separate play-list 300 for each of the 100 channels. When a viewer turns on the television, and selects a channel, the associated play-list 300 will become active. Thus, the play-list 300, unlike a traditional television channel, is not bound to a singular broadcast stream at a fixed frequency in the broadcast spectrum such as channel 2. The play-list 300 can automatically surf many channels for the viewer to create customized programming. For example, a user wanting to watch news may select a customized channel which shows at 6 p.m.; the news broadcast on channel 2, at 7 p.m.; the news broadcast on channel 5 at 8 p.m.; and the newsfeed at online URL www.cnnfn.com at 10 p.m. The user does not control this assembly—rather, it is a “news channel” he or she has selected. Stated differently, the programming material is compiled from different sources at the user's location in time for viewing. These viewer selectable channels are composed from a multiplicity of multi-media segments transmitted both prior to and concurrent with viewing, potentially via a plurality of networks as directed by the play-list 300.
In an alternate embodiment, the program customization 41 may optionally be required to acknowledge to the provider of the play-list 300 that it has been received. Play-lists 300 may cover any time period, with different play-lists 300 for different viewer selectable channels being refreshed at different times. For example, the play-list A associated with channel A may describe how to create channel A from midnight on one day to midnight of the next. The play-list B associated with channel B may describe how to create channel B from noon one day to noon the next. The play-list C may be refreshed every 8 hours, to create channel C. Play-lists 300 may identify multiple multi-media segments to be synchronized for playout. For example, video may be obtained from live traditional broadcast, with audio obtained from a previously received file received from a different transport network, such as the internet. The play-list 300 may indicate that the files are to be played out synchronously. An application of this would be a video mail merge for advertising—that is, a new car ad could play out for all viewers with an audio track unique to the specific household “And this week, just for you John Doe, this new car can be yours for $25000”. The portion of the audio track that specifies “John Doe” could be received as a separate audio segment to be synced with the portion of the ad where it is called for.
Creation of Play-List 700 at the Head-End
Turning now to
Business Models for Providers of Play-Lists
This invention enables several other new business models. The business entity which creates the play-list 300 may be different from the broadcast entity. For example, an enterprise may desire to get into the business of supplying play-lists 300 for medical enthusiasts (“the doctor show channel”). Such play-lists 300 could stitch together any broadcast shows with medical content, potentially select a choice based on user demographics or preference if two shows are available at the same time, and transmit content owned by the enterprise to the set-top box 43 over the internet for play when no broadcast satisfies the conditions.
Another business model enabled is the following. A broadcast channel could use one frequency allocation to provide multiple viewer selectable channels. For example: for prime time viewing on channel A, the broadcaster could supply five channels—a young female interests, an older female interests, a male interests, a child's interests and a family interests. The broadcast content on the channel A frequency would supply a large part (say 95%) of the content for each of the viewer selectable channels. Key scenes would differ for each of the different channels, with the correct scene supplied over the internet or having been previously supplied on the same channel during a time when the channel is off the air and retained by the set-top box 43. The play-list 300 associated with the viewer selected channel would determine how the show would be constituted. This would allow adults only scenes to be inserted if appropriate, or more detail on a scene of greater interest to one of the viewer groups. A child's version might dwell more on the children in the program, and so on. It is important to note that a group of set-top boxes 43 can contain as few as one set-top box. This is consistent with the definition of group addressing.
Another use within the same business model would be to show instructive materials at different levels. For instance, a home maintenance program might include advanced scenes of woodworking for one user, and might require a less advanced viewer to buy a preassembled piece. Since only short segments are different, the ability to assemble this show via play-list 300 at the point of media consumption requires much less bandwidth than the traditional method of having two channels.
Although a specific embodiment of the invention has been disclosed, it will be understood by those having skill in the art that changes can be made to this specific embodiment without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. The scope of the invention is not to be restricted, therefore, to the specific embodiment, and it is intended that the appended claims cover any and all such applications, modifications, and embodiments within the scope of the present invention.
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|U.S. Classification||725/35, 348/E07.063, 725/59, 725/47, 725/46, 348/E05.108, 375/E07.024, 348/E05.006|
|International Classification||H04N5/44, H04N7/16, H04N21/45, H04N21/6543, H04N21/435, H04N21/2665, H04N21/858, H04N21/81, H04N21/443, H04N21/44, H04N21/258, H04N21/433, H04N21/2668, H04N21/61, H04N21/454, H04N21/2343, H04N21/235, H04N21/262, H04N7/10|
|Cooperative Classification||H04N5/4401, H04N21/44016, H04N21/2665, H04N21/262, H04N21/235, H04N21/435, H04N21/4331, H04N21/6543, H04N21/4532, H04N21/25883, H04N21/812, H04N21/2668, H04N21/6125, H04N21/443, H04N21/858, H04N21/454, H04N7/165, H04N21/234318, H04N21/26258|
|European Classification||H04N21/61D3, H04N21/262P, H04N21/258U2, H04N21/45M3, H04N21/2665, H04N21/858, H04N21/81C, H04N21/2343J, H04N21/262, H04N21/2668, H04N21/6543, H04N21/44S, H04N21/433C, H04N21/454, H04N21/443, H04N21/435, H04N21/235, H04N7/16E3, H04N5/44N|
|Oct 5, 1999||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORPORATION, NEW Y
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:CHING, JENNIE;HSIAO, ERIC;LEE, PETER S.;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:010295/0841;SIGNING DATES FROM 19991001 TO 19991004
|Dec 27, 2010||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|
|May 22, 2011||LAPS||Lapse for failure to pay maintenance fees|
|Jul 12, 2011||FP||Expired due to failure to pay maintenance fee|
Effective date: 20110522